You gain the chance to view your own country as an outsider, this highlights the particular hangups that all countries and their citizens have about themselves. I am of the opinion that you gain a greater perspective on your own life and position from a global perspective.
I read a quote earlier today on Facebook from Tim Rylands - I'd rather look back on my life and say 'I can't believe that I did that', rather than saying I wish I'd done that. I fully agree with Tim's sentiment as it is not productive to look at what might have been. It would have been difficult to consider the 'what ifs' had I not taken the decision to relocate in 2011.
I know that personally I have grown in confidence and self worth as a direct result of having to live and work in a non English speaking country. I accept that the Dutch have very good English and use it regularly and that I worked in an English speaking environment. However, I believe that after over 5 years in the country that I began to think and react like a Dutch person.
The Netherlands is certainly a great country in which to enjoy the outdoor life, museums and the cinema ( with subtitles in Dutch). For me though the pull of 'the mother country' began to impact my thoughts more as we moved into 2016. My original plan was to retire and move back in 2017-18 however this shifted as 'homesickness' increasingly set in. In March I took the decision to resign/retire call it what you will? As with all such decisions, once made there was a sense of relief and the opportunity to look forward to new beginnings at home.... real home!
Time has moved swiftly from that decision and today I find myself back in Wales looking forward to getting back into the life of my small town..... I will of course miss my 'other life', however it will always be with me, and will influence me in the future.
There are aspects of Dutch life and culture that I will miss, no doubt I will require a few visits back in order to get my 'dutch fix'..... I will miss:
- 'Real' Fresh Mint Tea
- Savoury Pancakes ( at the Pannekoekhuis Sheveningen)
- Bottled Belgian Beer ( Palm, Duvel and Le Chouf)
- Pathe Cinema's ( Buitenhof in particular)
- Those lovely custard slices from The Bienkorf
- Dutch queuing
- Trams and buses ( 3 and 24)
- Cycle lanes and priority for bicycles
- Dutch 'Weekends'
- My MuseumCard - and Museum Night
All of the above experiences and situations are locked in my heart and will not leave, I am sure that they will grow stronger with time.
From now on I am looking forward to new employment opportunities and to working from my home as a base.... and reconnecting with my 'Welshness'.
Thank you Holland for the experience and thank you to the IB for the opportunity.
Put the kettle on it's time for a cup of tea!